Bill Lynch didn’t want to mention it. He didn’t talk much about it before Saturday’s game, didn’t reference it in the post-game press conference afterward, and stressed even when Don Fischer asked about it on his radio show Monday that it wasn’t an excuse for the way the Hoosiers played in the 47-7 loss to Virginia.
But the Indiana coach admitted that, yes, the Hoosiers were battling the flu last week.
“You don’t want to make excuses about that because that’s something that’s going on, I think, on every college campus in America this year,” Lynch said, “and probably will as we get through the year. I think each of us is going to get hit a couple of times. That’s kind of the information I’m getting. Certainly don’t want to make any excuses about it, but it was our week I guess. Quite a few of the guys on defense missed practice. I think what happens is you realize — and I’ve been coaching a long time — you always feel that way. If you can’t practice, you’re not going to play well on Saturday. That probably was a little bit of it last week, but we gotta deal with it. It might hit us again this week or it might hit us again in two weeks.”
Safeties Nick Polk and Austin Thomas both sat out of last Wednesday’s practice. Senior linebacker Matt Mayberry, who was one of the player guests on Monday night’s show, said that he too was affected.
“It was pretty bad at the beginning of the week,” Mayberry said. “You can’t really use that as an excuse. A couple of defensive players had the flu at the beginning of the week, but you can’t use that as an excuse.”
Lynch took a couple of rambling but brutal calls from fans expressing their disappointment in the outcome Saturday, which he handled well by thanking them for their support and telling them that the players did, in fact, care. One caller asked if there were any problems with team chemistry and if the squad was still getting a long.
“We were the tightest group in America two weeks ago and then we played Ohio State and Virginia,” Lynch said. “But it’s the same group. We’ve stumbled a little bit, but it’s part of it. That’s what you learn playing this game. You’re going to hit some adversity, and you gotta bounce back, and that’s where we are.”
Lynch was also asked if Saturday’s was a game he would bother to watch film on or if he would prefer to just forget about it and move on.
“No, you spend a lot of time,” Lynch said. “You do some soul-searching from the time you leave the locker room. It’s a long bus-flight-bus back home, and you don’t sleep much, and you get up Sunday and have a chance to start studying the tape. That’s when it starts clearing up. When you really get a chance to watch it and go over it and over it. It really is, the old saying is you’re never as good or as bad as you think, the truth lies somewhere in between.”